First time AI vacation. We're in our late 20's/early 30's and decided on Couples because of good reviews and the included activities (scuba, etc). We're not huge partiers, but will sip a few drinks during the day and looking to spend plenty of time on the beach when not doing scuba, snorkeling, boat rides, etc. We're also big "foodies" and really want to try several good restaurants.
I think we're going to choose CSA based on reviews. Does this sound appropriate to those of you who've been to various resorts? Also, any advice on what room/location to select? I'm having a hard time figuring out the main differnces (is it just the view?) We won't spend much time in the room and don't plan on spending a whole lot of time sitting watching, we'd rather be out doing.
You sound a lot like us, and we've been to CSA 4 times and LOVED it. There were more restaurants, so you have more variety to choose from. The beaches in Negril (CSA and CN) are the best of the resorts, so there's another plus.
We'd recommend the atrium suite. It's the cheapest, now, post-renovations, but it has a lovely balcony. We found we didn't spend a lot of time in the room, but that when we did, we were on that balcony.
The room differences have to do with the placement (proximity to the beach and, therefore, the views) and the ammenities (basically TV or no TV). Atriums have no TV, due to their layout.
We've only been to CN and are heading back tomorrow!!! Yay!!! The beach, the food, the service, everything was outstanding. Lots of watersports; I don't think you could go wrong at any Couples resort. Enjoy....I know we will....tomorrow can't come fast enough!
My advice for a first timer no matter which resort you choose is to do the orientation tour as soon as you can. It makes a big difference in knowing where stuff is and what is available. This is especially true at CSA which is large and has a lot to offer.
CSA is great! We just turned 30 and have been going to CSA for years. We spend most of our time doing the same things you like so I think CSA would be a good choice. The dive team is wonderful and the beach is awesome. If you don't care as much about the room just get the cheapest one so you can stay as long as possible. Our favorite room has always been the Atrium and now due to changes in the room categories the Atriums are the cheapest rooms so that works out well for us.
We've only been to CSA (so far), but it sounds like it will be a good match for you. Like the two of you, my husband and I are also "doers". We loved the diving at CSA. It's not the best in the world, but from what I hear, the best in Jamaica. The dive boat is good, the dive staff great, and the dives just nice and relaxing and easy. We also went snorkeling once or twice, took the cat cruise, went out on hobie cats and water-skiied. It is a great resort for active people. But... we still had lots of down time on that gorgeous beach, floating, sipping yummy drinks...
The only thing you won't get is the party atmosphere, but you say you aren't partiers, so it's perfect.
We've been to other AI resorts and the food at Couples was very good in comparison. Lots of selection. No need to worry.
As for the room, like you we don't spend much time in it so we just got the then cheapest category of garden room. For us it was just fine. We didn't need a TV, although a mini bar would've been nice for evenings instead of carrying our last drink back to the room.
Book it! You'll love it
I think that CSA is a great choice for you! We initially chose CSA over CN because of the huge sports complex at CSA. We both work out every morning, and we also like to snorkel and swim.
We have stayed at many different resorts on different islands (Aruba, Barbados, Bahamas, USVI), but we keep coming back to Couples and Jamaica every winter. We have stayed at another AI in the Dominican Replublic, which was quite lovely and adults only. But the key is that Couples is COUPLES only. There is a big difference! Not a lot of singles wandering around, doing shots out of someone's navel, if you get my drift.
While we certainly enjoy our cocktails at CSA (we love living decadently and having mimosas at breakfast), it isn't a wild party place, which sounds like it's just up your alley.
If you are foodies, you will enjoy Lemongrass, Feathers, Patois Patio (lovely open air ala carte dining that is not formal). We even enjoy the buffet at the Palms (although it, too, is ala carte at dinner). I think all AIs are at a bit of a disadvantage regarding food, but we've rarely been disappointed in what we've eaten at CSA, and we've never been disappointed in an entire meal. Sure, there have been things we've eaten that we didn't care for, but that's the beauty of an AI - you can order something else!
As far as the difference in rooms, I'm sure others will elaborate on this. We always book the beachfront verandah suite rooms (in January, we will try the beachfront suite rooms). All of the rooms are relatively close to the beach, so, yes, the difference is view (especially now that all rooms have mini-bars). But, oh, what a view from the beachfront rooms. In all of my travels, no other resort has gotten us that close to the beach at such a reasonable cost. Plus the verandahs are very large, perfect for relaxing.
All four Couples Resorts have everything you're looking for...and more! Sounds like Couples is a perfect match for you. If you're not planning on spending much time in your room, get the cheapest and spend the difference on more days at the resort.
As for the scuba, I would suggest you check with the resort to see for certain what you need to bring with you to be allowed to dive. Some require a doctor's release form stating that you are 'fit to dive' but it varies depending on the resort and if you are a certified diver or not.
Have a great time!
We have not been to CSA but did go to CTI once and CN twice. We prefer CN but both are great. The food is first class for AI. We don't generally care for AI but this is different.
I'll let others comment of the specifics of CSA.
You will love CSA. There is lots to do or you can lay on the beautiful beach. There are lots of good food choices and the resort is very romantic. Make sure to check out the Martini Bar above the Palms restaurant. Great atmosphere and drinks. Whatever Couples resort you choose, you will like. Enjoy!
. . . . We're also big "foodies" and really want to try several good restaurants . . . . .
While I hope you enjoy CSA, I think that the food at any all-inclusive resort would disappoint a true foodie. We've had some very nice meals at the various Couples Resorts, but the restaurants are not on the cutting edge of the culinary world, and there is nothing surprising about the cuisine. I don't mean to discourage you but would hate for you to be disappointed. Sometimes people wax so eloquent about the resorts that they set expectations too high.
I notice that you're from Michigan (although you don't mention the city in your profile), so while the food at Couples is very good for an all-inclusive resort, you shouldn't go expecting it to be on par with, for example, Opus One, Forte, or the former Tribute in southeastern Michigan or the now-closed Tapawingo and Windows restaurants in northwestern Michigan.
I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).
The food we've had (at CSA) has been fresh and remarkably good - I may be wrong, but I'll bet even true "foodies" would be delighted to try some of the Jamaican food featured at the various meals - although it may not be truly Jamaican in it's level of spiciness, I still think this might be a fun try for a "foodie." And I think even true connoisseurs (sp - I'm typing this over my lunch) may find that the reservation only restaurants are particularly nice. The only drawback may be the house wines, but there are always other wines for purchase.
We've been to other resorts, AI and non-AI, and I think the food at Swept Away was particulary remarkable. But then again, I enjoy good food, and fine dining, but may not be a true "foodie."
I hope you enjoy your time at Couples, regardless of which resort you choose!